Ryerson University student takes veganism discrimination dispute to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario | News | National Post
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is to decide whether ethical veganism is a creed, as protected by anti-discrimination laws, in the case of a Ryerson University master’s student in social work who claims senior faculty “sabotaged” her career because of her moral equivalence of animals and humans.
Sinem Ketenci, 37, who immigrated from Turkey as a young woman and studied at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay before doing a master’s at Ryerson, alleges a senior professor disagreed with her comparison of maltreated animals with marginalized people, said the connection was “very inhuman and racist,” and pressured Ms. Ketenci’s untenured supervisor into withdrawing his recommendation of her PhD candidacy at other schools, which she called an academic “kiss of death.”
In an interview Monday, Ms. Ketenci said the fallout has extended to her personal life, costing her friends among fellow students, and left her “traumatized.”
“This systemic discrimination and harassment that silences marginalized minority peoples’ voices, such as me as a Racialized Ethical Vegan, is a serious threat towards freedom of speech and freedom of belief,” Ms. Ketenci writes in her complaint to the tribunal.
“I entered the [master’s] program with good intentions, and instead, I was attacked and treated unfairly because of my belief in ethical veganism and because I am a member of a marginalized community, vegan animal rights activists.”
Ryerson declined to comment Monday and has not filed a written response. The complaint has only just been laid. If it is accepted, mediation will precede a hearing.
Correspondence from the school to Ms. Ketenci indicates it views the dispute as an academic matter, exempt from discrimination law.
Ms. Ketenci implies racism motivated the decision to reject her research project on animal rights in social work, but does not explicitly allege it.
“If I were white, born here, this case would not have happened,” she said
Cassandra Hanrahan, assistant professor at Dalhousie University’s School of Social Work in Halifax, published a paper in August describing her encounters with “speciesism, a specific form of discrimination based on species not recognized within social work’s anti-oppressive practice paradigm.”
Through “epiphanies” she felt while walking her dogs — Aureole, a 15-year-old border collie, and Ramon, a beagle — Prof. Hanrahan describes herself as a “witness to animals as marginalized groups whose exploitation is symbolically and empirically linked to the exploitation of marginalized and disenfranchised groups of humans.”
Guess hse better get rid of those leather sneakers eh.
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only. Another form, environmental veganism, rejects the use of animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.